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Nordling is the 1st in to express his views on Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST from BNAT 5!!!

Hey folks, Harry here... been awake now for 40 hours... I'm charged... BNAT this year was the single most extraordinary film experience of my life. Watching the programming just work film after film for me... was just bliss and with my top 3 favorite films I've seen thus far in 2003 being RETURN OF THE KING, OLDBOY and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST... I'm just charged the the raw cinema injected into me throughout this festival. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was astonishing in its very rough form. Score is about 30% in place with tons of temp, visual effects almost non-existent here... and of course digital instead of the lushness of Caleb's visuals when we see them in 35mm next year. Nordling is the first to chime in... there will be others... enjoy...

Nordling here.

First off, let me get this out of the way, I'll be sending my "Things I've Learned at BNAT 2003" in later on, and I want to thank Harry, Drew, Father Geek, Quint, and the rest of the gang for simply the best time at BNAT this year. Special thanks also go to Eli Roth, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, and last but certainly not least, Mel Gibson.

Quick RETURN OF THE KING review... it's amazing, duh! Like you would expect anything else from me.

This will probably be the most controversial review I'll ever write for the site, if Harry sees fit to post it. Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is a monumental statement of faith and it's possibly the most important religious film ever made. And unfortunately it's going to be completely misunderstood by people and groups with agendas. The fact is, this is a powerful film and this needs to be seen by the widest audience possible. This is an Important Film. Possible the first real Important Film of the 21st Century.

Don't get me wrong. I love THE LORD OF THE RINGS films. Of course I do. But with THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST Mel Gibson has created Art. It has all the beauty of the works of the Middle Ages depicting the death of Jesus Christ. Inspired by the paitings of Caraveggio, various written works as well as the Gospels, Gibson has created an unparalleled work of art that will stand the test of time as one of the greatest religious films ever made.

I think a lot of the hatred coming towards THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST comes from those who primarily have not seen it. I have. Read closely. It is not anti-semitic. Not in the least bit. I understand the concern. To me, the Sanhedrin in the film felt more like a political organization than a religious one. In the film, it's obvious that Jesus threatens them politically, with their standing with the Romans and with their own people. They are frightened of Jesus, and must send him away from them.

My wife is Jewish, and she didn't feel like it was offensive at all. Our friend at BNAT, Roger Kaufman, also is Jewish, and he admired the skill and emotion of the film. They viewed the film in the context that it deserves - as a film, a work of art, not an abstract ideal. And in the film, Jesus is put to death because it has to be. It is a destiny He wishes to avoid if He is allowed, but He never shirks from the task.

But he suffers. Oh does He suffer. Jim Caviezel deserves so much credit for keeping Jesus human under so much torment. There were moments when I wanted it to stop, and Mel Gibson kept going, teling us, "You have to know. Even if you don't believe, you have to know."

And that's what's so great about this film. I really wish that Gibson had shown this film to fans first, instead of religious leaders. Because they don't understand. They can't know the emotion, the skill, the talent and the art that really goes behind making a film like this. There's one scene in the film, as Jesus falls, and his mother Mary (the phenomenal Maia Morganstern, giving a performance of little dialogue and great power) remembers a day when Jesus as a young child fell, and she was there to pick him up, but not this time. This time, she can only watch her son suffer in agonizing pain. It's powerful, so human, and devastating to watch.

Oh... just so you know... the MPAA will come down on this film like a stoning. The fact is that they can't cut anything. You would rob it of its power. If there's anything I urge so much, it's this: the MPAA needs to just rate it R, and please, stay away from the editing room. I hope that this happens, but the film is so controversial now that it may not be possible. In which case, I urge Mel to stay true to his remarkable vision.

After the film, Mel Gibson did a Q & A with the audience about the film, and let us know about some CGI shots and changes he wants to put into the film. There's one change I agree with - makign Jesus's eyes brown instead of blue. But the other changes he suggested... okay. They really aren't necessary. Sure, clean up the print, clean up some of the obvious CGI that you will need... but you literally have a perfect film here. Those additional scenes you talked about really aren't required. I would love to see them though, because if you can improve on this film, I'm all for it.

I realize I'm ranting here. I'm pretty tired - still haven't slept yet, can't, just can't - and really blown away by the power of this film. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST has possibly my favorite closing shot ever. It's a simple shot, and so well done, and it makes the film transcendent. As Mel Gibson himself said, "The film speaks for itself. It is what it is." Many groups of people are bringing something to this film that maybe, they probably shouldn't. This film played to Jews, Christians, agnostics, atheists, and all sorts of people with all sorts of religious backgrounds, and they knew to understand and approach this film on the contextual level it deserves. I think you need to approach THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST as a story, a film, and it shouldn't be second-guessed with religious or political agendas. It stands as a work of art. It's almost certain to be the best film of 2004. It is the first Great Film of the 21st Century.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:30 a.m. CST

    And the Lord sayeth let thee be first

    by Mostholy

    and it was good.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:32 a.m. CST

    By the way,

    by Mostholy

    Very nice of you to have PJ & co travel all the way from NZ to Austin (by way of Hollywood) and show you the most eagerly anticipated film of the year, all so you could upstage it with Mel's cinematic rantings. Exceedingly polite of ya.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:32 a.m. CST

    dag nabbit, thought I had it there

    by halcyonseven

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:34 a.m. CST


    by halcyonseven

    I am really excited about this film, and seriously, who hasn't already heard about the LOTR movies from PJ yet? Why not let Mel talk about it. Cinamatic rantings indeed. When you guys make your movies see if you feel like you are "ranting" when you talk about it.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:36 a.m. CST


    by halcyonseven

    I would like to hear what Jackson said. Did he talk about "The Hobbit"? Is he going to put the Sauromon scene back in the theatrical version? Lets have it Harry!!!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Man I am green with envy....and Harry is coked up

    by Jon E Cin

    Return of the King.. Passion Of Christ.. FUCK I AM JEALOUS! All I got to see was Bad Santa...which was funny.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:41 a.m. CST

    First (i think, maybe)

    by Bobbo1701

    Ok here's the thing, This film looks great!!!!!! Like Gibson said, you don't have to be a believer, and I'm not (I'm Wiccan), to see it and appreciate it. I plan on seeing it and seeing from two points of view. One as a film student looking at what is most likely one of the most important films ever made. The other is a history student looking at a hopefully historically accurate potrayal of what may be one of the most significant moments in history. Now I may be a Pagan and not believe that Jesus of Nazerath was the son of the devine forces, but there is far to much historical evidence to deny that he existed and that he was an important man. Even atheist historians will agree that something happened that irrevokablly changed things around the time Jesus lived and died. I am greatly looking forward to this film and really hope it comes to the tiny theater in the middle of my tiny little town in the middle of Butt Fuck Nowhere, Texas.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Why the enormous fear of what Jews will think of this film?

    by TheGinger Twit

    I'm probably going to be branded anti-semetic for this post... but when we live in a world where 100's of thousands of innocent men women and children - just like anyone you know - are being killed left right and centre... Afganistan, Iraq, Palestine, africa...... who cares any more or less about Jews and their history? Who cares if the common held belief is that the jews killed Christ. Most people I know don't even care about the story of christ. It's just not relevant to themand their world. accept this fact - build a bridge and get over it. Further more, Can someone tell me what the hell the difference is between Israel's occupation and clensing of the muslems and what Hitler did to the Jews in world war 2? Peace on all fronts my friends. I'm sure this film will be very well made - but if it's supposed to be accepted as historical fact then it will bomb and be the closing door on Mel Gibsons career. And two last things, the Jews are not immune to any critisms. They just aren't. and second... as of writing this - I'm first!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Poland on the AICN Screening

    by Mostholy

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:09 a.m. CST

    What are the reasons this will be so monumental?

    by judasbooth

    I have to start by saying I'm a huge fan of Mel Gibson and his work in the film industry. I thought Braveheart was one of the best historical epics ever put on celluloid. More recently, I think Gibson's role in Signs was done superbly. That out of the way, I'd like to pose the question: What about this movie is going to make it so important and groundbreaking? Aside from the fact that it's done in Aramaic, and the obvious excellent cinematographry, it doesn't really seem to hold anything mind blowing. Anyone ever see Franco Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth'? THAT was a Jesus film. Don't get me wrong people---I want to see Gibson's film badly---but I suspect that the review we've just been presented with may be a tad overrated. No, I have not seen it, so my opinion as of now is moot, yet I don't think any of us should jump the gun on this one, thinking it's going to be the movie world equivalent solution to world peace.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:20 a.m. CST


    by cptrios

    the problem i've always had with people caling jews "christkiller" and such is this: where exactly would the christian religion be if jesus hadn't died? isn't his death and subsequent reappearance essentially the basis for the entire concept of jesus as 'lord?' you should be thanking them! even without the miracles, etc...there are parallels to be drawn between he and all of our dead celebrities. imagine what might have happened had jimi hendrix, JFK, kurt cobain, or martin luther king hadn't been cut down in their prime. no matter how great somone may be, their star is bound to fade eventually. a jesus who declined with age a la elvis or even someone as trivial as jose canseco would hardly make for a great religious figure. i think this is what gibson knows as he makes this film and what rational people will understand when they see it. the jews are not evil or wrong, they are simply a necessary cog in the machine. by the way, i'm an agnostic, but i accept the bible as an important work of literature, and i think (though i didn't a little while ago) that i'll be able to look past my reservations and recognize this as a good film.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:22 a.m. CST

    Awesome. Can't wait for this film.

    by flipster

    Easter is in April right -that's when it will be released? Sounds great. Cannot wait.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:23 a.m. CST

    Mostholy, wish that was a review

    by judasbooth

    I know it was meant to be about the screening itself, rather than the film, that much is obvious, although it would've been a better use of that journalist's time to actually put his thoughts down on the film rather than criticize what he thinks is Mel Gibson's display of arrogance and his supposed agenda by showing this movie to the public before the Pope. Screw the Pope---Gibson didn't make this movie for the Catholic Church or the film community, he made it for everyone.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Makes me wanna cry -- thank you.

    by viola123

    Thank you, Harry and Nordling and all others who will share their feelings on "The Passion of the Christ." I couldn't believe it when I found out that Mel was there, with you all. It was such an amazing thing, to think of him there with you and talking about films. That's awesome! And that he respects you all so much and your opinion, wanting to get true feedback. Without agendas, without bias. Just appreciation of film. As Nordling said, art. I can't wait to see "The Passion of the Christ" next February, and I hope we can all see it, and discuss it, and take it for what Mel meant it to be. I can't imagine him ever making something with an intent to offend. I think I'm going to be bawling though, lol. I cry at everything. You won't believe how hard I cried at "Spirited Away." This film is going to truly move me, I can feel it. Thanks again you guys, making us all jealous!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:33 a.m. CST


    by Dr. Ghostly

    Jews didn't kill Jesus. The Romans killed jesus. Deal.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:36 a.m. CST

    Does anyone remember?

    by KayJiSP

    Jesus was Jewish. How can the Jews be upset? Christians cannot be upset about the death of Christ anyway, because it had to happen. He was supposed to die for man's sins. This film can't be negatively portraying Jews anyway since Jesus was Jewish. It's like a double negative. In Schindler's List, no one complained that they were negatively portraying Hitler and the Germans. That's because it was a historical fact. Why are some Jews afraid of letting a factual film about Jesus be released? I want to see some of the Jewish actors from the movie come forth and state why they think Jews have no reason to complain.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:39 a.m. CST

    The Last Temptation of Christ and Jesus Christ Superstar are the

    by Sith Witch

  • Dig it!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:02 a.m. CST

    What the fuck is so fucking "important" about it?

    by Mister Pink

    It's only "important" if you buy into this mythical horseshit in the first place. Jesus was one guy out of tens of thousands who were crucified. What makes his suffering any more important than anyone ele's? "You have to know. You have to know..." I have to know WHAT? that some fucking hippie got nailed to a stick? What the fuck do I care? He probably fucking had it coming anyway. And it was the ROMANS that crucified Jesus, not the fucking Sanhedrin. Crucifixion was purely a Roman method of execution. If the Sanhedrin had wanted to kill him they could have stoned him. Not that they had any reason to do so. He hadn't violated any Jewish laws. I just don't get what the big important message is here. It's what, "worship Jesus?" Fuck that right in the ass. Also, can somebody tell me how Jesus getting strung up on a big T has fuck-all to do with my "sins?" It's a totally archaic and barbaric soteriology which has its roots in primative rituals of animal sacrifice. Isn't it time we outgrew these kinds of idiotic, illogical religious doctrines?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:03 a.m. CST


    by JohnnyBlueJeans


  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:18 a.m. CST


    by blowmonkey


  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:24 a.m. CST

    This is all just a Story

    by blowmonkey

    You guys, there is no need in arguing as you have, this is simply a story from a book that many people around the world have read. It is just like adapting any novel, ala Lord of the Rings, there are going to be exceptions and innacuracies that purists will disagree with. That doesn't mean it won't be a great movie. All of us, with decent breeeding, now possess intelligence enough to understand that religion is manipulation. Jesus was, perhaps a great teacher, not unlike countless others, but any claims to being the son of god are as dead as dead. Live your life by reliance on superfluous religiosity, if you wish. I'll have a beer.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:30 a.m. CST

    Imagine if people were talking about how "important" a movie abo

    by Mister Pink

    movie about Krishna might be entertaining but would any non-Hindu think it was IMPORTANT? Is there anything about Krishna that we all "have to know?" What do we "have to know" about Jesus for? What a sanctimonious, presumptuous crock of shit.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:40 a.m. CST

    Maybe they SHOULD make movies

    by Uroboros

    about other religious figures. A least something that hasn't been done 100 million times already. But if they're going to make movies about Jesus, maybe someone will have the balls to turn "The Gospel According To Jesus Christ" as a movie. Great book! But the same crowd that had issues with "The Last Temptation of Christ" would really have problems with this one.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:45 a.m. CST


    by 0101


  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:48 a.m. CST

    I usually wish slow, stinking death upon first posters...

    by IAmJacksUserID

    But mostholy had a mostexcellent first post. Cheerio, jolly good show old fellow!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:48 a.m. CST

    Speaking of...

    by blowmonkey

    The gospel according to Jesus Christ, I just got the book a couple of days ago, have to finish up school stuff. But am definitely looking more forward to reading it now, more than before.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:58 a.m. CST


    by user602

    This film is important for many reasons. First, its been awhile since a film like this has come along... movies like the Ten Commandments, The Robe and others just dont get shown anymore. Second, its a good story and raises the question, why do so many people believe in Christ or for that matter choose religion? Think of it this way, Christianity is the only religion that claims that its prophet, Jesus, was a deity, the Son of God. So the only way to disprove God and all other religions is to disprove that Jesus was the Son of God. Can anybody out there do that?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3 a.m. CST

    Hey Everybody

    by Chaka

    I'll just call attention to myself by jumping up on a soapbox and screaming curses. That's cool, right? Being angry is "in" right? Mr Pink: I see your point, but taking a crap on people's beliefs is a quick way from turning into someone who is to be taken serious into a loud mouth idiot. Well done on the latter.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3:15 a.m. CST

    Yes blowmonkey...

    by Uroboros sure to read the book. It can be a tough read due ti the way it's laid out; but stick with it. It's a VERY different take on the whole story.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3:27 a.m. CST

    Nobody asked Mel Gibson about MAD MAX 4?

    by My Ass Smells


  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3:35 a.m. CST

    a sermon?

    by Dr. Ghostly

    Mister Pink is right. The Romans killed Jesus. However, he is wrong in assuming the sanhedrin or others (that happened to be jews) didn't try to have him killed. Several times, they would have stoned him, but were afraid of retribution from the multitude of people that liked him. In one instance, they did pick up rocks and actually try to stone him, but he ran and hid from them John 8:59. And as far as Jesus being the "son of god", he never called himself that. Nor did he deny being a son of god when others called him such, because the phrase is pretty common in the bible and applies to all hewbrews, if not all humanity.Matthew 5:9, Matt 5:45. Oh, and one more thing. Jesus died for hewbrews only. "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel... It is not meet to take the childrer's bread and cast it to dogs." Matthew 15:24-26 If you aint jewish, you're just a dog to Jesus. Right there black & white, clear as crystal in the 'good' book. (unless you got one where the words of jesus are in red). Sorry Mel.... Jesus didn't die for you, except on set.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3:36 a.m. CST

    F.Y.I.- Jesus was a Jew, and so are you!

    by 0101

    I'm so sorry to burst the bubble of you religious folk out there, but Jesus Christ never really existed in the way most of America thinks he did. First of all, Jesus Was Jewish. he was born Jewish, became a Rabbai, and was a carpenter as well. He also died jewish. Jesus' true name was Joseph, and according to recent findings in archeological evidence, may have had a brother. Jesus, as you call him, was never actually around to see Christianity because he did not create it. It was actually created by his followers. Christianity in actuality and for all practical purposes was a dead religion until a few hundred years after jesus'death. This is when a conqueror named Constantine heard of it. He had this idea that he would use Jesus' deciples Christianity as a means to fight holy wars, rebuild new cities, and even emblazen "the Cross" on his armies shields in order to massively convert as many people as possible over to Christianity. All in the name of god. Constantine was a dictator plain and simple. He wanted a way to control mass amounts of people and he found one. To this day, people actually think that Jesus started the christian movement. Most people don't even know that Jesus was jewish, but he was. In fact, 11 of the twelve appostles were Jewish. Please moviegoers, don't be so gullable as to believe that Mel Gibson of all people, actually knows what happened thousands of years before he was born. I don't think so Mel. Pull this one and it plays Jingle Bells. P.S.- Here's a nother little known fact... Mel Gibson's Father was once a White Supremist Ariyan son of a bitch in merry old Australia. He taught his son Mel to hate Jews and that they killed christ and a whole bunch of other bullshit that simply is not true! Mel Just Feels the need to spread hate, and it's disgusting and sad. Here is a man that I once admired. My wife actually met Mel a couple of years ago and got to shake the hand of one of her favorite celebrities. That was then. Today, she is ashamed she ever shook the hand of a Nazi Sympathizer. She can't even watch one of his movies without reminding herself of what a lowlife scumbag he is for making this farce of a picture. In closing, I would just like to say that if you want to see a movie with some historical accuracy, then don't see The Passion. Go see Schindler's List, or Ghandi. If you want to see fiction, Stick to Star Wars, E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark. There has yet to be created an accurate telling of Jesus'life story. Maybe one day. Until then my friends, research history yourself to find the true answers. Don't rely on Hollywood's skew of the facts. Use the internet, a brilliant tool, to look up the facts for you. I'm sure the Chicago Historical Society, or The Smithsonian online could shed some light on this subject for you. Remember, the truth is out there! I gave you a head start. Now, go. Good Luck fellow Jews! -Do unto others, as you would have others, do unto you. -Wherever you go, there you are.- -Seek, and ye shall find- - SHALOM -

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3:59 a.m. CST

    The difference, GingerTwit....

    by DocPazuzu

    .... is that the nazis were attempting to exterminate all Jews (men, women and children) in Europe (and the rest of the world eventually). The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza -- wrong though it may be -- is not in place in order to exterminate every single Muslim or Palestinian in the Middle East. If they wanted to kill all the Muslims they would surely have started with the Muslim population in their own country (mostly ethnic Palestinians, by the way, and with a greater birth rate than the Jewish population). In case you didn't know, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Muslims have the right to vote in free, democratic elections. Automatically comparing countries' or politicians' flaws or disagreeable policies with either Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union greatly diminishes the true evil of those systems and the sacrifices made to defeat them.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 4:01 a.m. CST

    Man, this sucks...

    by Marco_Xavier

    ...I'm going to have to read the New Testament by April now. I want to be up on that particular bit of Jewish history so that when I see the movie, I'll have a more solid frame of reference. I'd like to mention that Christ wasn't the first Jew to suffer horribly for his beliefs, but I don't expect anyone has the passion and/or stomach to tell those tales anytime soon. Also, Christians didn't slaughter Jews during WWII, but a lot of Germans who happened to also be Christians did. If you have a problem with how the Israelis handle their affairs, keep that in mind before casting blanket pronouncements on the "them" that is not of you.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 4:08 a.m. CST

    The Jews have too much power......

    by SIR-SLEDGE450

    Its a greedy greedy religion....You have alll the power players in Hollywood....weinstiens, spielbergs (he is a pedophile by the way, trust me).It makes horrible sense.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:12 a.m. CST

    I heard a rumour

    by Summer_Pudding

    that Pontius Pilate, and the rest of the Romans will speak English, with English accents. Apparently Gibson insisted that the English were largely responsible for the death of Christ, and most of the calamaties visited upon the ancient and modern worlds. Summer (Hammer of the Scots) Pudding out.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:20 a.m. CST

    Mr. 0101 sure has a chip on his shoulder.....

    by spiderinside

    .....but not as big of a chip as Jesus had on his when he dragged the cross to Golgotha and died for Mr. 0101's sins! Don't be so bitter dude. Have you or your wife even seen the movie? I doubt it. Just calm down before you get all excited. Just try praying to the Lord Jesus, and I'm sure you'll calm right down. Remember, Jesus loves you, even if you and your wife hate Mel Gibson.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:30 a.m. CST


    by wanton_wallie

    Now I can't wait!!!!!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:32 a.m. CST

    I'm glad Mel shows it to them first before the Pope

    by mooniewawee

    I agree with the other poster, this Mel made this for the people, not for catholic church or any institution's and just be used for propaganda. Way to go Mel!!!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:39 a.m. CST


    by atinyspeckofdust who cares what jews, muslims, or catholics think. Thier history was created to inform, indulge, and to entertain thier ancestors with the question of who we are and why we're here. It's like comparing the Matrix to LOTR to Star Wars: in the end it's whatever touches you more (no pun intended, all you priests out there) and no one's going to hell for any of it. (except maybe the Wachowskis and G. Lucas, who can serve their punishment by eternally swapping stories on how to drop the ball on goundbreakingly promising franchises.) Gibson already made a brilliant film about a man who suffered a brutal death for his beliefs: Bravheart. And unlike Jesus, at least William Wallace's story hadn't been told and retold and played out a million times over. Give us something that hasn't already been manipulated to death. Please. I'd rather see a film about Prometheus getting crucified for giving Man fire.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:10 a.m. CST

    Jesus Christ is the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet!

    by octagram

    ...because somebody had to...

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:11 a.m. CST

    Well said Mister Pink

    by Summer_Pudding

    Why would anyone want to subject themselves to a set of anachronistic and often bizzare set of rules to govern their lives. What hope is there for humanity if millions of us still believe this garbage? How dumb do you need to be, if you need a book and the dry sermonising of a rabble of sexually repressed men to create a healthy moral compass? Religion is rotten to the core. I'll hazard a guess that most of the people reading these talkbacks have the enormous advantage of living in an advanced capitalist society, with the attendant freedoms inherrent to democracy. We have libraries full of the collected thoughts of the most brilliant minds, and the freedom to read these books without fear of presecution. But still, many of us choose to drastically limit ourselves, and believe the hate mongering of a few unhinged, homophobic misogynists who lived two thousand years ago. The church played a large part in fommenting the pestilential genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Up to a million people were hacked to pieces or burned to death in their homes. Some sought sanctuary in churches, but were turned away to be butchered by the mobs waiting outside. In Ireland, the Catholic church is inundated with claims that priests sexually abused children. These are just two examples of what religion has to offer. In most religions the priests must be celibate. Why? Doesn't it strike you as bizzare to deny your most natural, healthy urges? Fuck religion, and films about religion.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:11 a.m. CST


    by williammunny

    Most people realize that Jesus was a Jew, but thanks for the revelation, useless as it was. By "recent archeoligical evidence" I assume that you mean the ossiary that was discovered; it has been discredited and shown to be a complete fake. Constantine's solider did NOT put Crosses on their shields. The had the symbol known as the Chi Ro, which looks like an X superimposed over a P and stand for the first two letters of the word "Christ". Constantine being a Christian (although he supported the religion I don't beleive he actually converted until close to his death) had nothing to do with him oppressing people, it had every thing to do with him being a Roman Emperor, and institution that had a 300 year history of oppression by the time Constantine showed up. Sorry to ruin your pop-historicizing with some actualt facts, but I am sick of people dumping their bullshit on this site. I don't care what you believe, but at least have it have some basis in actual fact.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:44 a.m. CST


    by mara_rhodesia

    I just want to say that I can't wait to see the movie. Carry on.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:48 a.m. CST

    After the sheer hatred I felt after The Patriot

    by DannyOcean01

    I will NEVER watch another film starring, or featuring any contribution from Mel Gibson.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Dick Hertz

    by DocPazuzu

    Yes, ethnic Palestinians who are citizens of Israel DO have property rights. There's a difference between being a citizen of Israel and living in the occupied territories. As for Sharon, I agree one hundred percent with your characterization of the man -- he's scum. However, a few psycho politicians yelling about extremist measures to be taken against Palestinians does not a fascist dictatorship make. That's like letting Pat Buchanon, John Erlichman or David Duke form your opinions of what America is. Their mere existence and opinions and/or loud voices do not make the United States any less democratic.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Life's a piece of shit....

    by NaughtiusMaximus

    ...when you look at it, Life's a laugh and death's a joke it's true - Life is just a show, keep them laughing as you go, but remeber that the last laugh is on you - Aaaand, always look on the bright sie of life... we-oo... we-oo... we-oo we-oo we-oo...

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 8:02 a.m. CST

    People should win money....

    by NaughtiusMaximus

    ...for being able to shout out relevant Life of Brian lines during the film. Sit at the back of the cinema, wait until the film's been on for a few minutes, then shout 'Speek aaaap! I kant 'ere a bladdy fing!' Or wait until the screen has faded to black just before the credits, and shout 'Welease Bwian!' Cinema managers should hand out vouchers for the shouter who gets the most violent response.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 8:05 a.m. CST


    by quartho


  • LOL, oh man...thats wrong on so many levels... But anyways- I'm going to see this film, just because I can. Theres so much crap comming out, and there hasnt been a good religous film in a LONG while (thats inclduing "Revolutions"..pssh).

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Oh, about the "religous sucks" comments...

    by nomad202

    I dont think that this film will be shoving anyting down our throats. Its true, a lot of religions spawned from the true events that took place, but its the story itself thats moving. If Lord of the Rings spawned religions, would you feel differently about the films??

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Thanks for posting this, Harry

    by Oberon

    Though the usual peanut gallery has shown up, I'm glad you posted this. I'm looking forward to Gibson's latest more than ever.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 9:15 a.m. CST

    To Mister Pink, Summer Pudding and all the other naysayers

    by Jeditemple

    I'm not surprised that you trash these movies, trash the Bible, and trash religion. But let me ask you one question: Can you afford to be wrong about your beliefs? Read the bible for yourself and then make up your own mind.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Historical Jesus

    by Tesarta

    I'm not going to say much that hasn't already been mentioned regarding the "historical" Jesus, but it's my field of study so I figured, what the hell. The historical Jesus would have been crucified by Rome for sedition, not by the Sanhedrin (which didn't have the authority). Possibly the Sanhedrin would have been involved in delivering Jesus to the Romans or to alerting them to his existence, but there's no evidence one way or the other. Jesus' name was not Joseph, it was Joshua (Yeshua in Greek comes out as Iesus). His father was a carpenter, according to the gospels; no one knows if he was himself. All of that being said, the gospels aren't history and they don't even pretend to be history. They are writings from a post-resurrection perspective of faith, trying to make sense of the experiences of the earliest Christians. So any film based on them isn't going to be historical, it's going to be an adaptation of religious literature. So if Gibson's film *is* anti-Semitic, it's because it's possible to read anti-Semitism in the gospels (although most likely at least 3 of the 4 gospel authors were Jews, and so the "anti-Semitism" was really anti-establishment). If the film is not anti-Semitic, hooray for that. I didn't want to see the film before (not a fan of bible adaptations), but now I think I do, if only because I'm curious about Gibson's choices.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Enough with this Jesus stuff already

    by starlisa

    Fact #1: The character of Jesus of Nazareth is fictional. It's a composite of several false messiahs who lived around the last couple of centuries BCE. Even the name of the town is a mistake based on ignorance. There was a Yeshua who lived more than a century before JC was supposedly born and who was part of a group called the Notzrim (guardians). After the legend of JC took off, people got confused and thought that Nazarene meant he was from a place called Nazareth, and when Queen Helene visited Israel to look for "holy places", she arbitrarily labeled a village "Nazareth". There was never any such place before that. Fact #2: Had there been a character who did the things JC did, he would have been worthy of the death penalty. He violated the Sabbath in public, and had no shame about it. He blasphemed as well. But as it happens, the Sanhedrin had deliberately deprived itself of the ability to judge capital cases during that period of our history. So they most certainly did not find him guilty of a capital crime. Fact #3: The entire work of fiction that the Christians tacked onto the real Bible is a pagan passion play, with only a thin veneer of Jewish culture over it. Parts of it are an obnoxious and antisemitic screed, and the idea that it should be made into a motion picture at a time in our history when people and cultures are finally starting to grow up is just disgusting.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 9:58 a.m. CST

    GO MEL GO!

    by ScreamingPenis

    fuck the establishment and people will be lined up down the street to this film.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:22 a.m. CST

    user602 sez....

    by Mister Pink

    "Think of it this way, Christianity is the only religion that claims that its prophet, Jesus, was a deity, the Son of God. So the only way to disprove God and all other religions is to disprove that Jesus was the Son of God. Can anybody out there do that?"----------------------------------------First of all you're wrong in your premise. there are plenty of other religions both ancient and contemporary which claim that certain specuial people were avatars of gods (ever heard of Hinduism, dipshit?). Secondly. your notion that God or Jesus must be "disproven" is total horsehit. YOU are the one making the idiotic assertion so YOU have the burden to prove it. The statement "Jesus was God" does not acquire any default presumption of truth that must be disproven just because somebody wrote it in a book. Why don't you satrt be proving that Jesus even fucking EXISTED much less was a "God."

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Impressive...most impressive

    by Manatee

    For the most part, this has been a constructive discussion about religion. When you consider how quickly the political threads get out of hand, this is truly impressive. I suppose I'd call myself an agnostic; or as Studs Terkel calls himself, a "cowardly atheist." Physics hasn't adequately explained to me what came BEFORE the Big Bang, so I suppose there could be some Central Intelligence that initiated things. However, that would be the extent of said Intelligence's involvement in our affairs. It is only natural for us to formulate ideas about our origins and our ultimate fate. Those who mindlessly bad-mouth religion fail to realize how fundamental it is to our nature. Religion is a human construct to explain the seemingly inexplicable, whether that be God, Allah, or Newton. That being said, we ARE human. Meaning, we place our insecurities in everything. It isn't enough to explain something, we must be RIGHT! We must bludgeon the heathens with our truth! And while we're at it, let's make a bunch of rules to keep people in line. Keep them scared. Prey on their ignorance. Maybe we can wrap our sovereignty in the religion itself? Yeah, that's it! The imprint of human frailty on ALL religions is painfully evident. Are we so arrogant and scared we can't even create a deity that looks different from us? Religion is the last security blanket that we have, and we cling to it like Linus sitting at his piano. I have respect for those who live a truly devout lifestyle; I know three people that have renounced all secular influence and live according to the Scriptures. Funny thing, they never try to make me feel bad about my non-belief. They feel it isn't their place to preach, but testify to non-believers through their lifestyle. Very admirable. To those who live the secular lifestyle but still claim to be religious, I have NO respect. How do you identify these people? They tell you how important Jesus is to them on the bumper of their SUV. Or shout you down when you try and voice your beliefs. For these people, Christ is merely a way to avoid further contemplation on their place in the unforgiving Universe. Life becomes easier, but more vacant. It may sound pompous to say, but our existence is defined by the SEARCH for spirituality, not the ultimate discovery. If you fail to search, you fail to live. If I sound pompous, so be it. The miracle of the Universe and my existence is wondrous enough for me. I don't need to cheapen it by attributing the whole thing to one entity, who will punish me if I don't worship him. It's a singular journey we all take, and we're all right and all wrong. BTW, since this is a movie forum, I believe, I should say I won't be seeing The Passion. I find the movies that Mel Gibson has made (directed, produced, etc.) to be overwrought. Just a personal preference. Like everything else.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Jeditemple sez...

    by Mister Pink

    "I'm not surprised that you trash these movies, trash the Bible, and trash religion. But let me ask you one question: Can you afford to be wrong about your beliefs? Read the bible for yourself and then make up your own mind."---------------------------------------------------------1.) I guarantee I know more about the Bible than you do and 2.) Pascal's Wager is a logical fallacy. Even Pascal decided that it was bullshit. It's predicated on a false dichotomy. It presumes that the only two choices are "believe in God" or "not believe in God" (and in your case a specifically CHRISTIAN god). The problem with this is that they really aren't the only two choices. How about believing in MULTIPLE gods, for instance? How about non-theistic paradigns like Buddhism? What if you believe in the WRONG god. By Jewish and Islamic standards, the worship of Jesus is idolotry. So if the Muslims are right, you're going to fry like an onion ring for all of fucking eternity. There is NO SAFE CHOICE. That's why Pascal's Wager is a fallacy and why intelligent people don't bother with it.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:33 a.m. CST

    CGI vs. ... oh ... um ... let's see ... contacts!!!

    by riskebiz

    I wonder why Gibson just didn't have his actor wear brown contacts? Why go through the expense of CGI to turn blue to brown when contacts would have been far, far cheaper and made an infinite amount of sense? That's a weird decision.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Magdalen Smear Campaign (such as it is {g})

    by JasonPratt

    Back in September I wrote a (very long!) discussion of this topic in my journal, going over a lot of the evidence in detail. Y'all are welcome to check it out. Once you reach the page, do a 'find' for "Magdalen" (there are a bunch of other things on this page as well, which archives my articles for Sept 2003). The article runs in four parts.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:37 a.m. CST

    actually jesus was not a carpenter

    by speed

    little do many people know that he was not a carpenter but a fish monger on the back streets of bethlehem. that's where he learnt his two bit gambling tricks. bread and wine my arse. it's all documented in a new and very controversial book called "jesus: how to hustle your way into heaven". the london times book review calls it "an interpretive marvel for the ages." The new york times literary review weekly hails it as" the most astonishing and fascinating new viewpoint on Jesus since the best selling JESUS LOVES EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU!" a short except from the book reads: (jesus lecturing as a 14year old to the other older fish mongers) "and remember you always start with the fish-eye under the left cup. this is crucial to your beating the odds..." ...............

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Oooooo, goody, another fucking Pro-Jesus flick to bilk the stupi

    by Mr. High

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Some Factual Research

    by wahoorob

    Just a suggestion for those of you on both sides of the whole Christ is real/it's a myth debate. Two books by an author named Lee Strobel address the issue from a courtroom perspective of "is there enough evidence to determine if this is real?" point of view. They are "The Case for Faith" and "The Case for Christ." They're written from an apologetic Christian perspective, so I expect that those who've already made up their minds (some vociferously so, based on what I read here) won't be interested. But for those with an open mind, they're fascinating reading.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:43 a.m. CST


    by Nordling

    Well I think all the makeup and fake red blood already irritated Caviezel's eyes. They were quite red. Contacts probably would have been excruciatingly painful. So I imagine that's why.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:48 a.m. CST


    by speed

    one more thing. i never got that whole american orgasmic love thing for braveheart. it's actually amazing the number of americans i meet who tell me that is their favourite movie. that's cool but i just don't get it. and to the person complaining about historical innacurracies (god i hope i spelt that's late where i am and i have a cold) in THE PASSION! (well i think there should be an exclamation mark there anyway) what do you expect??? it's the same guy who made braveheart!!!!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Oooooo, goody, another fucking Pro-Jesus flick to bilk the stupi

    by Mr. High

    Why don't all Christians just go and buy a lottery ticket? There's a fucking better, (Although fucking teeny, tiny and very small) chance that that investment will pay off. By the by, WHAT THE FUCK IS SO 'IMPORTANT' ABOUT THIS FLICK? It's a work of fiction, based on a work of fiction. It may be a good movie, but at the end of the day, it isn't 'important'. You may as well say that "The Return of the King" is 'Important', but it's still just a movie. (Albeit a fucking amazing, phenomenal movie, but still just a movie.) What's 'important'??? The fact that Gibson made a flick about a fictional dumbass who was so self-deluded into thinking by a bunch of psychotics and his clearly fucking ripped in the head relatives that he was the ONE SON OF GOD? Holy SHIT, what a crazy fucking ego. To think that ONE GUY is going to make up for the sins of man, give me a fucking break if. If a fucking guy getting crucified was any kind of payment for the atrocities of man, there would be fucking crosses EVERYWHERE YOU LOOKED!!!! Wait, a minute, there are, strange. So I guess organized religion was our punishment? Who the fuck knows what HE was thinking when that one flopped out of his big 'ol Holy Head? But, seriously, what's the fucking big deal? A lot of stupid people are up in arms about the way their supposed 'savior' (read: Crazy Hippie) is portrayed on film? Who cares? They also said that "Dogma" was going to end all life in Earth in a rain of Hellfire and that was the most pro-God flick ever made. Personally, I think this film is in bad taste. It comes at a very hard time for the church, what with all the choir boy ass raping the priests are doing. You'd think they'd be concentrating on getting the child molesters out of the church or at least buying the poor kids some lubricant, but no they're bitching about a fucking flick made by Mad Max that's probably the most Pro-God thing ever. I wonder what kind of respose I could get if I made a flick called "Jesus Freaks"? It would be about a crazy fuck, who like Jesus thought he was the son of God and 'saved' them by cutting them to bits with a chainsaw. I would also include a lot of choir boy ass rapings, because unlike this flick which isn't important in any way, shape or form, any attention brought to fact that literally hundreds of child molesting priests are ass raping their way through the children of America and probably the world, no matter how stupid the premise. So fuck Jesus and fuck this stupid, overhyped movie about him. If he really was as great as everyone said, he wouldn't be letting his gang continue ASS RAPING the little children he supposedly loves so much. Here's to "Lethal Weapon 5" and the death of Mel Gibson's career.

  • I don't see that many German people screaming and bitching whenever they're seen in movies marching people off to be fucking gassed. Know why? Because it happened for real. I suppose on some level, I could be pissed if I was Jewish about being accused of murdering the Son of God, but let's try to keep this in perspective. It's a work of fiction, like the Bible. And, hey, it works the other way too, if Jesus was in fact real, which I'm pretty sure he was and his weirdo cult got blown way out of proportion, then the Jews did kill him, right? TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR FUCKING ACTIONS JEWISH COMMUNITY!!!! If you can prove that you actually killed him, that is. If you can prove that, then that means the Bible must be true and I'm going to Hell, but until I see some proof, I'm just going assume that the Bible was written by Nazis. So until you can prove you actually killed the One True Son of God, continue bitching! It just makes you look incredibly STUPID, because until there's proof, it's all fiction baby! GO STUPID JEWS! GO STUPID JEWS! FILL MEL GIBSONS POCKETS WITH YOUR STUPID BITCHING!!!!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:16 a.m. CST

    What gets me isn't the denial of Christ or God...

    by Lobanhaki

    ...those I can handle, and must handle, because in my only lifetime, I've done both. I can understand the Secular Atheist and agnostic perspectives from experience. What ticks me off is just how gullible some people on these boards think we are. Newsflash! Millions of well-educated people believe in God, and in Christ! Yes, it isn't rational, but no, it was never meant to be rational, at least not in the modern sense. You can say modern society has made religion obsolete, but then, why do people still gravitate towards eastern spirituality, towards Wicca, and back towards Christianity? Because faith is a basic, human need. One which can no more be made obsolete than our need for rational explanations and logic. I see it as a need that must be filled, and science, for all it can do, for all that it is, is not prepared or designed to fill that need. Neither is modern pop culture, however much it tries, and neither is secular society by itself. Those other things have their purpose, but they can't fill the need that faith does in people's souls. This is not about being gulled into believing some superstitious nonsense, although that is undoubtedly a probable and possible occurance in daily life. No, it is about our need to believe that the fragments of order we see around ourselves lead somewhere, and that we can find a way to deal with each other, and with our limited perspective on reality by means of it. And that, because of human fallibilities will always be an insistent need.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:21 a.m. CST

    I am a Jew...

    by Krinkle

    ... and I'm big, scary, and I eat babies! We're taking over the world!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:28 a.m. CST

    "Faith is a basic human need..."

    by Mister Pink

    Then how come I don't fucking need it? I do just fine without believing in fairies. What's wrong with me? To quote the great sage, Jesse Ventura, "religion is for weak minded people who need strength in numbers." Faith is for cowards.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:33 a.m. CST

    0101's hypocritical little rant

    by Cherub Rock

    This is one of the most appallingly hateful (and unfounded) rants I have ever seen on this site, and that's saying a lot. I don't know much about Mel Gibson other than having read the odd interview (he speaks very frankly and comes across as a person who does not have an inflated view of himself or is putting on airs) and seeing some of his films, but these statements are just too much. Nazi sympathiser? Where exactly did you get that fascinating little tidbit? What, your wife hates him now just for making this movie? And I'm guessing neither of you have seen it yet? You sound far more bigoted than Gibson. Got proof to back up your claims? I cannot understand the accusations of anti-Semitism being levelled at this film (in fact, the whole phenomenon is weird -- if the Jews, or Romans, or whoever was "truly" responsible, didn't kill him, there would be no salvation in the eyes of Christians anyway, and besides, the whole point was that man is corrupt). He's basing it on the Bible -- and it's pretty clear from the Gospels that the Jewish religious authorities of the time were heinous, bigoted and utterly evil men. So, what, Gibson's supposed to change the story to appease the ultra-PC wing of pop culture? If a film were made about Europe in the Middle Ages would it be reasonable for Catholics to complain if the Papacy and the Church was depicted as utterly corrupt and morally bankrupt (which it was)? No, but I'm sure some people would picket anyway. It's just history. If the film is going out of its way to change history in order to demonise an ethnic group, then fine, set the dogs of the Anti-Defamation League against it. Be my guest. But the PC advocates often take things to far -- tolerance is one thing, but history is history. "Jesus, as you call him, was never actually around to see Christianity because he did not create it. It was actually created by his followers. Christianity in actuality and for all practical purposes was a dead religion until a few hundred years after jesus'death." This is just plain wrong -- maybe Christianity didn't exist as a major political force until a few centuries after Christ (this seems to be the only relevance modern commentators and historians afford religion in general). Christianity flourished and spread early on, as its principle supporters (Paul etc) were avid and fiery evangelists. And to the fools who always post their "rationalist" crap about religion only causing death and war (wow, some Catholic priests have molested kids! Therefore all Christianity is invalid and hypocritical!!) should stop reading Nietzsche and pull out some history books. Get a clue. You say religious people are sheep (ESPECIALLY those nasty bigoted, right-wing fundamentalist George Bush-loving rednecks, which is how all Christians seem to be charicatured by you clowns)? Funny how brainwashed you sound.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Mister Pink

    by Cherub Rock

    That is a very bleak outlook you have there...and I thought i was pessimistic..

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Two cents

    by Mafu

    I've seen the trailer for this film, and I thought it looked great. I'm sure I'll go see it in April. That said, I'm an atheist -- not an agnostic -- so I'll be ignoring the larger religious implications of the movie, as I don't actually believe in a God or afterlife of any kind. I'm excited to see this film for the human drama, the cinematography, the acting. I respect people who will watch "The Pssion of Christ" from a faith-based perspective, as I'm sure it will resonate deeply with them. I'm also excited to see this film from a -- marginally, at least -- historcial perspective, as this was the genesis (pardon the expression in this context) of a belief system that would have huge repercussions from a larger biological and evolutionary perspective. Millions of people killed, tortured, centuries-long wars, desecration of cultures, falling and rising empires... even now it's a major contributing factor to the way our world functions. Peace, out.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:43 a.m. CST


    by m2298

    *Michael Lind accurately dubbed Israel a "Herrenvolk" democracy. If you're a member of the "in" group, you've got all sorts of legal rights. If not, drop dead. Israeli Arabs (within the '67 borders) most likely have more rights than those living under Arafat's Plestinian Authority. *Ariel Sharon has a fifty year record of deliberately murdering Palestinian and other Arab civilians. I don't want to defend each and every thing Sharon has ever done, but you are incredibly naive to think that every "civilian" is not a danger. Suicide bombers and other terrorists don't wear uniforms. *As Norman Finkelstein pointed out, if you add up ALL the Israelis who were killed in ALL the wars and bombings from the late 1800s to the present, you'd have a little over 20,000 dead. In 1982 Ariel Sharon oversaw the slaughter of 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.. Finkelstein is hardly an unbiased source. Please cite the source of these numbers. *including the SS-style massacre of Palestinian children in the Shatila and Sabran refugee camps. By "Christian" Arabs. I wish someone would keep tally of the Christian-Muslim violence in Lebanon, as well as that of the current dominating power, Syria. *Two of Sharon's chief ministers call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel, the West Bank and gaza. Effi Eitam wants them driven out Milosevic-style.. Please quote me exactly what he said. The party platform of Mafdal/NRP is at and says nothing about "ethnic cleansing". In any case, that party has very limited influence on what Sharon's coalition does. *Uzi Landau called for the gassing of Palestinians, saying Israel should do to them what Saddam Hussein did to the Kurds. Please provide the quote. * So people get all trembly when someone likens Sharon and his crowd to Nazis are just being special pleaders. If the jackboot fits, wear it. Ariel Sharon has the temperament to be an Einsatzkommando if only they could find a suit of feldgrau big enough for his fat ass. If Israel doesn't want to be lumped in with racist, fascist and thuggish regimes, the solution is simple: Stop acting like a racist, fascist and thuggish regime. Take that Ariel! Have you ever read anything written by Israelis (and not just those of the extreme left)? Do you know anything about Israeli society? Arab socities? What do you you think would have happened had the 2000 Intifadeh not broken out? Palestinian militants dearly want the most extreme Israelis to get elected, so that they can get international sympathy and support (like yours) and ultimately fight Israel to the death.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:49 a.m. CST

    My two cents

    by Nickdude77

    Constantine did convert when he knew he was going to die since christianity supposedly forgave all sins.. people actually did this: live a dictator's live and then get baptized before you die to get into Heaven. I definitely want to see this film but My views on ALL organized religions remain the same: Opiate of the Masses... but that's not a necessarily BAD thing either. Woohoo Paradox!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Hey God-Botherers

    by Summer_Pudding

    What about church leaders encouraging their followers to massacre their neighbours in Rwanda? Are they the bad apples in the barrel? What about the attempted cover-up of endemic paedophilia in the priesthood? Taken out of context? The missionaries, systematically destroying belief systems that were around millenia before Jesus. Products of a less enlightened age? No, they're still pedalling their trade, the world over. What about the Protestant boy, and Catholic girl in Northern Ireland, terrified of their illicit love being discovered? Is this an isolated case? We're told religion solves more problems than it causes. Name one clearly defined problem it solves. Not the usual ephemeral 'oh, it gives people hope' line. That doesn't wash with me. A vainglorious hope that if they keep their heads down and don't step out of line they might achieve everlasting life? It beggars belief that people believe that.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:54 a.m. CST


    by IChooseToBelieve

    I am truly amazed at the religion bashing posted here and especially at the complete lack of respect shown by some individuals towards Jesus. I try to think of the United States as a country of tolerance in people's beliefs and of free speech, however, people like the some of the talk backers here remind me this is also the country of the KKK and cradle of the first serial killers. For some of us Jesus IS the Son of God!!, people have DIED for Him, people every day commit their entire lives to following Him, for every bad priest there are at least a 100 truly devoted to serve God, Jesus and their fellow humans, they have chosen chastity, poverty and obedience for their beliefs in Jesus!!! SHOW SOME RESPECT!!!!. I am so tired of all the hate speech in this country against religion! You JUST DON'T GET IT, some of us have FAITH not ANSWERS, we CHOOSE TO BELIEVE, because we CAN. I love Jesus, I believe He is THE SON OF GOD. I feel it in my soul. The problem for some people is that FAITH REQUIRES HUMBLENESS, and some of you are so full of yourselves that anything your limited human brain cannot make sense of, you discard as nonsense. I feel sorry for you.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Hey WithRegards

    by GypsyTRobot

    I'm an atheist. And I'm pretty law-abiding and harmless (besides ticking off people on AICN). I don't kill people or shoplift. The golden rule, or do unto others , always seemed like a good moral law. With a fine liberal arts edumacation including studying Aristotle and a later dash of secularized Buddhism, I've got my own moral code to follow. Don't need threat of hellfire to see that if everyone behaved in a reasonably nice fashion, everyone's lives would be a helluva lot better. I contribute money to good causes like the ACLU and a woman's reproductive health care charity (join the crusade against fistula!) and I'm involved in a charity project for Christmas. I'll grant you there are a lot of Randroid atheists out there who make a cult out of selfishness, but they certainly don't speak for all nonbelievers.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:09 p.m. CST

    To IChooseToBelieve

    by Mafu

    As an atheist, I respect your belief in Christ as the son of God. I do, honestly. I have friends who are Christians of several denominations, and we've had conversations about the differences in our views of the universe mant times. It's good to talk about these things. That said, I have one question for you: if you had a toothache, would you go to a dentist 2000 years ago or a dentist in 2003? 2003, right? Well, that's the way many of the people on this site are thinking. Update the way you think about the world, that's all. I think Christians have had the upper hand for about 1700 years in this debate, so why shouldn't people with alternate opinions have their say? It's their opinion, as well as my opinion, that Christianity and other theologies needs to be skewered from a logistical perspective. It's nothing personal, unless you want it to be.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:17 p.m. CST

    I'll show some respect when...

    by Summer_Pudding

    the rampaging army of missionaries destroying ancient belief systems all over the world, respect the history and diversity of the cultures they seek to 'enlighten'. Is there a single Christian out there who can justify this?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:22 p.m. CST

    To Mafu

    by IChooseToBelieve

    I am only asking for respect here, not for you or anybody else to agree with me or any other Christian. I am an educated person and see a lot of flaws in organized religion, a lot of holes in the Bible and a lot of contradictions in EVERYTHING in life. However, that's exactly my point. Faith is something that you feel, not something you UNDERSTAND. Of course, people with alternate opinions must have their say, and no, I don't take their criticism personally, as long as they show respect, especially for someone as Jesus, to whom so many people have given their lives. Read some of the posts here and I am sure you will agree that is not the case of this talkback.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:26 p.m. CST


    by AZJim

    The most irritatingly idiotic thing about Nordling's review is his demand that we watch the film without "an agenda." I don't know what he thinks that word means, but I would think we all have an agenda, and if I had a brain, I would watch the film from my own particular point-of-view, and try to figure out what Gibson's agenda is. When Arab newspapers and Pravda can run stories stating that thousands of "Israelis" who worked at the WTC were warned about 9/11 and called in sick to work that day, we live in a sick and dangerous world, and any filmmaker dealing with such potentially incendiary material (based, not on primary source history, but on the Gospels, which were written with their own "agenda" long after the events depicted were supposed to have taken place) has taken on a tremendous responsibility. Gibson must know this. Maybe that's why he claims the movie was actually directed by the Holy Ghost, acting through him. What egomaniacal bullshit. Too bad the Holy Ghost didn't show up for the Q&A. As for Nordling, we all know that fanboys love gore, and they love it even more when they can pretend that it's "important" and that everyone should see it.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Mr. Pink and Summer Pudding remind me of Romans 1:28

    by Blacket-Man

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:32 p.m. CST

    To Summer_Pudding

    by IChooseToBelieve

    No, I can't justify that. However, that shouldn't prevent anybody from respecting such a beloved figure as Jesus Christ. You can disagree with what people do on His name of course, people are not perfect, that has nothing to do with the fact that He has been for almost 2000 years and still is considered to be the Son of God by millions of people, and that deserves respect. I would NEVER insult Budda, Mahoma or any other beloved religious figure.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 12:41 p.m. CST


    by Summer_Pudding

    you sound like a good guy. I'm not trying to goad you. It's just that I have a tendancy to go a bit Pompeii when I think of what religion has done to people close to me. It is all too apparent how important your faith is to you. And believe it or not, I find it immensely encouraging to see someone with such a clearly defined purpose in life. For what it's worth, I think Jesus was a really amazing guy, in the manner of Nelson Mandela or Ghandi. Full of good ideas and with the wisdom of someone twice his age. Peace.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Extra! Extra! I have the real story here

    by Sheik Yerbouti

    One of the most entertaining aspects of this site is the fact that so many psuedo-intellectuals love to promote their skewed and various views (which they no doubt just picked up from their Professor's office hours) as authoritative truth. Starlissa posted one of the more entertaining ones, but there were so many more. When will people learn that professors, pastors, educators and many all are subject to human error, biased attitudes, and problematic research. Not to mention that the conspiracy theorist amongst so many Americans has some of the most outlandish fantastic tales being believed (Aliens bred JFK and then returned to accept his life essence, is one of my favs) yet in the same breath ridicule someone's heartfelt faith as being ridiculous and nonsense. No one should ever listen to someone on this site as offering the "true" story, be they Christians, Atheists, Scientists, Podiatrists or even just Beer enthusiasts like myself. Oh and also, if a book is given a sterling review from a "supposed" reputable publication, that in no way means that it's central thesis is credible. Also as much as we all love "The Da Vinci Code" it was a piece of popular fiction, just had to remind some here of that one.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 1:42 p.m. CST

    To Summer_Pudding

    by jhurshman

    "the rampaging army of missionaries destroying ancient belief systems all over the world, respect the history and diversity of the cultures they seek to 'enlighten'. Is there a single Christian out there who can justify this?" **** Here's my syllogistic interpretation of your argument. PREMISE 1: It is wrong to destroy any ancient religions. PREMISE 2: Christian missionaries destroy ancient religions. CONCLUSION: Christian missionaries are doing something wrong. **** I would not dispute PREMISE 2, or that the syllogism is in a logically valid form. So my argument would focus on PREMISE 1. **** There is no self-evident a priori reason to believe that all ancient religions should be preserved (in the sense of continue to be practiced). A large number of ancient religions have (or had) practices that I'm sure most people would agree are abhorrent, such as infant torture and sacrifice. **** There are several different reasons one might say that all ancient religions should be preserved. Instead of trying to guess why you're making this claim, perhaps you could elaborate on your statement and provide an argument for it. Then I could respond to your actual point, as opposed to what I'm guessing it is. **** Of course, this being Talkback, perhaps you'd just prefer to ignore or insult me. :)

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:12 p.m. CST

    To jhurshman

    by Summer_Pudding

    I don't have the history books here with me, but I can't imagine a 19th century missionary plying his trade in The Dark Continent assessing the morality of the religion he is bent on erasing. After months of checking for any signs of sacrifice and infant torture, he scratches his head in bewilderment. 'By Jove, these savages seem to have covered all bases. They love and respect each other, and their children seem for the most part, healthy and well...dash it, ALIVE! Pack up our things Caruthers, we're leaving. There's nothing in the Good Book that these natives haven't worked out for themselves.' I'll no doubt be pilloried for not doing exhaustive, painstaking research into the subject, but I imagine the conversion to was a lot more wholesale, and often enforced, regardless of the moral probity of the religions in question.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Yeah human sacrifice and cannibalism are bad

    by GypsyTRobot

    But the missionaries probably also made (some) indigenous peoples eat of the fruit of good and evil. That is they told them they had to wear lots of (Western-style) clothes even if it was hot and that they were naturally bad due to original sin. And very probably made to feel inferior to whitey when previously they had the collective version of high self-esteem. Not to mention the utter loss of unique languages and cultures. And missionaries often paved the way for Europeans to oppress the rest of the human race Teach 'em English so they understand orders, get 'em to wear pants so they don't offend the viceroy's wife, then send 'em to labor and perish in the diamond mines.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Explanation of why Mithraism lost to Christianity:

    by FluffyUnbound

    Dumb luck. Play the historical record out again and have a butterfly fly its wings a little differently, and Christianity loses. Certainly not based on its truth value, because almost no one among the hordes converted between 33 and 1200 AD was in a position to make any estimate of its truth value. Why does McDonalds sell more than Burger King? In any marketing competition, one side will do better than another. If you add to the mix the notion that the winning side gets to extermine the losers, you tend to end up with one major religion in any cultural area. // But you're still all focusing on whether or not Christianity is true. Who cares if it's true? Maybe truth is important, and maybe it isn't. Critical reason is fun that way. Having destroyed everything it has ever touched, in the same of doubt, it has never once turned that weapon on its own mission. Starting from a Cartesian posture of doubt, can anyone prove that critical reason has improved mankind? The primary assumption of the Enlightenment - that destruction of all cultural Idols was necessary because, free of that historical baggage, mankind would improve - has never been proven, it would seem. We accept it reflexively, because the quest for technological knowledge has had a number of benefits, and we assume that a Socratic approach to the humanities will do as well. What if it doesn't? What if there is nothing left but acrimony? I personally am the biggest skeptic among you. My atheism runs deeper than yours, because I recognize that statements like "The Bible is crap, but I believe in the golden rule" just don't wash. If the mysticism goes, the moral teachings go, too - or at least have to be supported by reason, and no one has ever accomplished that. [And don't EVEN say "Kant".] I believe in nothing, and see nothing in front of us but an unending desert landscape filled with squabbling over the most petty aspects of our various unsupported ideologies and devoid of even the most basic experiences that were open to our more primitive forbears. Forever. Because critical reason CANNOT create, ultimately, without failing to be itself. [Did someone mention Rand? Rand is a good example of this. One can only attempt to use reason to create if one keeps one eye and one ear shut.] SO knock yourselves out. Have fun in your careers of endless debunking of the illusions of others. Hopefully you will have that to hold on to, and you will not realize, as I have, that there is really no reason to even bother to do THAT, anymore. I recognize along with you that Christianity is bunk; but somehow, I can't be all that enthusiastic about the fact that the Shakers are extinct but Britney Spears is back on top.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Even if some Jews approved of the death of Christ

    by NFLRefugee

    it is not reflective and should not be reflective of an entire race. All people of German descent are not responsible for the Holocaust, all Muslims are not responsible for 9/11. You get my point. I can not wait for this film.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 3:18 p.m. CST

    "Is he going to put the Sauromon scene back in the theatrical ve

    by minderbinder

    You're kidding, right?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 4:01 p.m. CST


    by perryfarrell

    killing is bad. all races and religions have done a bit of it. woohoo. i guess people are evil. big fuckin deal. anyway, everyone continue arguing and convince yourselves that what you are doing is vital to All That Is Good And Holy and will determine the fate of your eternal soul. meanwhile i will smoke my camels and enjoy my killian's irish red. cheers! ;)

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 4:05 p.m. CST

    by the way, about the MOVIE...

    by perryfarrell

    i will watch it and i suspect i will enjoy it. i do not predict that it will change my value system or my eternal fate, but i do believe it will give me nightmares. i also believe i'll get good and pissed after it's over. Peace On Earth!!

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Is it subtitled?

    by PumpyMcAss

    Had to read it in a rush so I don't know if he said it was or not but I want to know if Mel pussed out and put up subtitles. I was so excited when he said that he would let the images just stand for themselves without the diaglogue spelled out for us. But if someone could just clear that up for me, that'd be great.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 4:22 p.m. CST


    by perryfarrell

    i hear that yes there are subtitles. i know having no subtitles seems like a great idea, but i'm sure it would get old real quick. besides, i can picture the latin-speakers that want to sound smart now: "well ACTUALLY, what he MEANT was THIS...." ugh, somebody shoot me.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Jews killed Jesus?

    by DarthSnoogans

    Hardly. They may have flipped the switch, so to speak, but Christian beliefs maintain that humanity's shortcomings made Jesus' death necessary. Everyone shares in the "blame". Bottom line, it looks as if Mel's got real balls to put this up on the screen, and here's hoping that it won't fall prey to the editing room, in the interest of appealing to the largest amount of paying moviegoers.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:06 p.m. CST


    by NFLRefugee

    Well, I am of German heritage, so by your loginc I am responsible for the Holocaust. Never mind the fact that I was born in the United States in 1973. I should wear the sins of my forefathers forever, huh? Come to think of it, I am also American so I am responsible for slavery, killing the Native Americans, dropping the bomb on Hiroshima et al. Come to think of it my mom is British so I am also responsible for the Opium Wars, destruction of India, Africa et al. So I guess all Jews are responsible for the death of Christ. The point is people of all races, religions, nationalities have committed atrocious acts, they should not reflect on all members of the race. Like my friend Carmen, who is responsible for all those whackings the Italian mafia has done. Or my bud Khari, who is African-American, he is responsible for all the damage in the LA riots and the Watts riots, despite the fact that he was in Boston at the time. Maybe I'll join Perry Farrell for some Camels and a pint of Kilians.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:06 p.m. CST


    by perryfarrell

    so wait, is this supposed to be important or not? you gotta stop being so gray on this stuff, man.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Jon Peter's version of "The Passion"

    by DarthSnoogans

    1. I don't want to see him healing anyone or turning water into wine. 2. I don't want to see him in that white robe. 3. Jesus has to fight a giant spider in the third act.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:10 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    If you think I'm going to defend anyone in Sharon's government or the 1982 tragedies, you're sadly mistaken. As for the polls you're quoting, I'd like to see the sources, since most of the polls I'VE seen take into account the difference between Arab Israeli citizens and people in the occupied territories. No matter how you slice it, no matter how wrong the current government is there right now, no matter what questionable polls you're quoting, Israel is still a functioning democracy, albeit with its flaws like all the rest, and the only country in the middle east where Muslim citizens enjoy freedom of speech and the right to vote -- not to mention the highest standard of living (rich oil sheiks aside). Mark my words -- the Israeli populace would never accept the expulsion of its Arab citizens, nor a neverending occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. They will never be expelled, and the occupation will end. A democracy deserves whatever government it has, and any shame visited upon Israel is ultimately the fault of the voting public for letting a bastard like Sharon into power. I hope, and expect, that he will be out of office come next election -- a hope and expectation that no citizens of any other country in the region can look forward to regarding their own governments. A vital difference if there ever was one.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:12 p.m. CST


    by perryfarrell

    this is what i'm sayin. BTW, how bout them eagles?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:17 p.m. CST


    by allegos

    "So the only way to disprove God and all other religions is to disprove that Jesus was the Son of God. Can anybody out there do that?" ...It isn't necessary to "disprove" that people don't really walk on water or raise the dead. If you get a workable ethical code, that's great (and it puts you far ahead of many heads of state who use the language of religion to cater to our most parochial, xenophobic instincts.) But why the need to take fairy tales literally?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Frelling typo!

    by allegos

    One sentence in my last post should have read, "if you get a workable ethic OUT OF YOUR RELIGION, that's great..."

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:21 p.m. CST

    oh man...

    by perryfarrell

    ...there's so much i can say about this right now, but i refuse to get caught up in this mess.... don't do it perry.... don't do it.... no such thing as logical fallacy... don't...... post.......

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:32 p.m. CST

    reply again

    by m2298

    * -this is a link to the Jerusalem Post, by the way. The link is dead, but I assume that it repeats the same gist as the AP story. While I'd actually like to see the original source of the quotes, I'll condemn his remarks if he means simply grabbing civilians and deporting them over the border. I think that the key to extreme statements (and there are a lot more of them on the other side) is the current climate. If you want extremists to disappear, there has to be a cessetion of violence on all sides. *What Zionist Lebensraumers (including almost half of Israel's population, according to several polls) want is to force the Palestinians to leave Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. And another poll found that a thiord support the recent Geneva initiative. Every poll says something else. And are there any non-Lebenraumer Zionists? *Uzi Landau's remark about wanting to do to Palestinians "what the Iraqis did to the Kurds" is in Ha'aretz (2/20/02). Which ones? Again, I don't want to defend any particular statement, but that Haaretz piece was an editorial and didn't provide anything else Landau may or may not have said. *I keep hearing from Israel's special pleaders about how Israel is a "democracy" and therefore worthy of sympathy. BULLSHIT! The fact that @45% of Israel's population admits in polls that it wants Arabs Klu Kluxed out of Greater Israel is even worse than some thug dictator The same population that voted for Labor in 1992 and 1999. I don't know where you live, but a few suicide bombings might change who they vote for, and not for the better. I'm sure you see no problem in Palestinians supporting Hamas, Islamic jihad etc. because of their unfortunate circumstances.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 5:43 p.m. CST

    A quick note

    by Nordling

    If you see any posts by Nordling in any TBs and you run your mouse over it - if it doesn't say exactly "" it's not me. If you do want to ask me anything about the film e-mail me. Weirdly enough I got my first real hate mail today from someone who called me a Jew-hater. I hope they don't tell my wife :P

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6 p.m. CST


    by perryfarrell

    ah i kinda guessed that. that or you had a good sense of humor about your own reviews. but either way, sorry about that, that wasn't you, duly noted.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:12 p.m. CST

    a pretend interesting question!

    by perryfarrell

    we all agree that everyone should have the right to practice the traditions and hold true the values of their heritage, right? what if one of your ancestors' most cherished practices was to hate all other races? is that really racism, or is OPPOSING that racist against groups whose racist traditions are slowly dying?? this has been your pretend interesting question, more bullshit every hour on the 12's.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:15 p.m. CST

    accurate? not even vaguely...

    by Danger Mouse

    I don't know much about theology so I wont coment about it's religious value but if you judge this film on its historic and anthropological merits, then it fails very badly. I know it's "only a film" but is so then why did they use dead languages?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:17 p.m. CST

    a pretend interesting question!

    by perryfarrell

    we all agree that everyone should have the right to practice the traditions and hold true the values of their heritage, right? what if one of your ancestors' most cherished practices was to hate all other races? is that really racism, or is OPPOSING that racist against groups whose racist traditions are slowly dying?? this has been your pretend interesting question, more bullshit every hour on the 12's.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Love the Eagles, Perry

    by NFLRefugee

    No match for the Pats though. It's all good. Should be an interesting post-season. A Kilian's would be awful good right now. This is what the Holidays should be about, not debating the sins of our past but hoisting a few with fellow talkbackers and toasting the future. I am done casting blame, with the possible exception of my boss, who has kept me at work past six pm (EST). Obviously, I am not working too hard, but nevertheless I am not on my couch or a barstool. But I digress...

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 7:04 p.m. CST


    by perryfarrell

    yeah i'm actually at work too. it's my own fault, i showed up at 12 so i'm stuck here til 8. but you can't really complain when most of your time is spent playing minesweeper. anyway i'm from philly so i'm biased of course, but the eagles this season have had a way of being statistically worse that other teams but still scoring more points and delivering where it counts -- so with this team you can't call it til you see the score on the tv in front of you. i'm sure we'll see how this all pans out tho. oh shit wait, this is aicn.... forgot for a second there....

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 7:11 p.m. CST

    My Two Cents (or Fifty Pieces of Silver)

    by jbreen

    1. The historicity of Jesus is a tough nut. You get the pagan loons going on about Mithra etc. Why they go on and on about this is beyond me. I guess the idea is that they believe Christian

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 7:55 p.m. CST

    lynxpro, get a grip

    by starlisa

    Dude, if 50 million people say a stupid thing, it remains a stupid thing. Truth has never been a matter of how many people can be convinced. About Nabu-kaduri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar/Nebuchadrezzar), his name meant May Nabu protect the Heir. Nabu-kidini-usur means May Nabu protect the Donkey. The name given in the Bible wasn't a mistake; it was a slur. Your pedantry to the contrary, there's nothing wrong with Joshua saying that the sun would stand still over Gibeon. Or do you correct people when they talk about the sun "rising"? After all, it's not the sun rising. It's the observer's position on the earth rotating towards the sun. And we don't claim that we built the pyramids. That was Cecil B. DeMille. Oh, and the walls of Jericho did indeed fall. At the end of the Early Bronze Age. Right around the time that Egypt fell apart completely and a new culture appeared in Canaan. Go learn something.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 8:08 p.m. CST

    If Jesus came back today...

    by Krinkle

    He would be absolutely horrified at what the fictions put forth in the bible have promoted in his name. Here we have a revolutionary philosopher, a gentle man, someone promoting understanding and peace in a very harsh nearly-prehistoric environment. Sad thing is, his followers were so outraged by his murder that they decided to invent a cornball ghost story that would enable his word to last through the ages. Well, it worked and it didn't. Bottom line: You can close your eyes and feel how nature works. Nature is indifferent in some cases, but in humans (for whatever reason) harmony and kindness seem to work pretty well. I've never gotten in a fight, never been robbed or beaten or mugged or betrayed or cheated on. I've tried to be a nice guy and turn the other cheek, and I've made a point of being as kind as I can to the people I meet. I imagine the real historic Jesus would approve. But he might be a little puzzled at this book which preaches that we were all created by a very vengeful (and obviously patterned after male humans, and not the other way around) god who didn't care what we did as long as we admitted we owed him our lives. That doesn't FEEL right to me, and you know what? Even if it IS true, I reject it. I expect more of a God than I do of myself, if there is a God (a possiblity I do NOT rule out). A human can be venal, jealous, vengeful, and vain. A MALE human ,especially. But a deity should at least be as loving as the average human mother... But this deity we bow to, if he exists, well, he needs to swallow a Zoloft the size of Jupiter.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 9:45 p.m. CST


    by m2298

    *Yeah, I have a BIG problem with Hamas and the others who deliberatlely attack civilians. If they confined their attacks to the occupiers (soldiers and paramilitaries), they would do their cause more good and would be justified. Could it be that they not only want all of the land between the Mediterranean and Jordan (pre-1948) but *all* the Jewish citizens dead or out as well? What do the polls among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs about that? Do you have a big (or even small) problem with that?

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:32 p.m. CST

    for speed

    by Danger Mouse

    Yes he did make Braveheart but he admitted it was the "legend" of Wallace and not history. BUT he IS claiming this is accurate...Which it just isn't. After all, he didn't do Braveheart in medieval Scottish/middle English etc.

  • Dec. 8, 2003, 11:36 p.m. CST

    for M2298

    by Danger Mouse

    The alies (British and US) in WWII intentionaly and knowingly targeted civilian areas to cause fear.-does that make our Grandfathers terrorists???

  • Dec. 9, 2003, 9:17 a.m. CST

    mistaken identity

    by m2298

    "The alies (British and US) in WWII intentionaly and knowingly targeted civilian areas to cause fear.-does that make our Grandfathers terrorists???" I did not make the above comment. Check the postings again.

  • Dec. 9, 2003, 11:59 a.m. CST


    by Marco_Xavier

    Yes, Jews have been linked to the execution of what is quite probably a fictional character, but it

  • Dec. 9, 2003, 5:54 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    Having lived and traveled in Israel for over four months at one point, I met a wide variety of Israeli citizens -- Jews, Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and many others. Not ONE of them wanted to live anywhere else than in Israel. Why? For the same reasons I've mentioned in my previous posts. Nothing you have said makes me any less convinced that Israel is the only democracy in the whole region and therefore worthy of support along with condemnation of actions which are contemptible. It is interesting to note, however, that the far left and the far right seem to judge Israeli democracy with different standards than they apply to the rest of the world's democracies. The same people are absolutely silent about the atrocities committed in the surrounding countries. You want to know the difference between Israel and its enemies, Dick? Israel has nuclear weapons and has never used them against Arab nations. How long do you think it would take for any of Israel's enemies to attack it if the roles were reversed? Or if the conventional weapon situation were reversed? Don't bore me with your moral relativism and your fortune cookie sensibilities. Wake up and smell the fucking falafel.

  • Dec. 9, 2003, 6:06 p.m. CST

    One more thing, Dick...

    by DocPazuzu

    "If they confined their attacks to the occupiers (soldiers and paramilitaries), they would do their cause more good and would be justified. Resistance to armed occupation is always justified." Okay, just so I'm clear on this -- does that mean it would have been justified for German and Japanese civilians to attack the armed allied occupation forces after WWII? What about the attacks on coalition forces in Iraq? I'd really like to know where the boundaries are.

  • Dec. 9, 2003, 8:40 p.m. CST


    by Danger Mouse

    Oops sorry mixed up with the posts.

  • Summer_Pudding, you made an interesting comment. I agree that evil things have been done in the name of religion, especially in the name of Christ. Those acts cannot be excused or condoned. But what about those whose contribution has benefitted society immensely? What about the Salvation Army, a Christian organisation which feeds & shelters homeless people around the world? What about William Wilberforce, an abolitionist who worked tirelessly to end slavery in the British Empire? Or Dr Martin Luther King, a devout pastor who battled for civil rights throughout the 1960s? The Christian ethics of the social welfare program set up after WW2 in Britain to educate and treat millions of ppl across the U.K? The 1st century Christians who cared for and treated pagan plague victims in the Roman Empire? Sir Isaac Newton, also a Christian began his scientific theories from the viewpoint of God's existence. I could go on & of course, there are secular organisations and individuals who've contributed greatly to the world. But it's annoying when ppl ignorantly bash Christianity, without seeing the benefits it has brought the world. Anyway, the human race doesn't need religion to find a reason for hatred, persecution etc. It still has race, gender, sexuality, nationality and other differences to perpetuate hatred. Something to think about....

  • Dec. 11, 2003, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Passion Prequel..going to be made by Mel Gibson Starring Nichols

    by stuntrocker

  • Feb. 23, 2004, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Mel Gibson breaks II Commandment

    by The Sower

    by Concerned Christian I read this article and thought it was of great interest to people that are wanting to see the movie after it's release....I agree with the writer who has been able to express my concerns a lot better then I do...... MEL GIBSON'S FILM ON "THE PASSION OF CHRIST" Samuele Bachiocchi, Ph. D., Retired Professor of Theology and Church History Andrews University Several subscribers to our newsletter have asked me to comment upon the much-publicized film "The Passion of Christ" by Mel Gibson. The film is scheduled to be released on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004. On that day the film will be shown in 2000 theaters across America and in countless others cinemas overseas. Evangelical congregations are booking showings, and religious leaders are urging believers to view the film's opening days. The dozen of reviews that I have read indicate that the film dramatizes in gruesome details the last 12 hours of Christ's bloody trial and crucifixion. Since I have not seen the film, my comments are based on reviews and the few snap-shots I have seen in the commercials advertizing the film. My remarks will focus on the reaction of some Jewish leaders who have viewed the film and on the legitimacy to impersonate the Divine Son of God by a movie star. Is it Biblically Correct to Impersonate Christ? Is it biblically correct for a movie artist to impersonate and dramatize the last twelve hours of Christ's suffering, by portraying His body splattered with blood on the way to Calvary? Can such dramatization be biblically justified? Or does it represent a sacrilegious act condemned by the Second Commandment? The question of the biblical and ethical legitimacy of dramatizing in a movie the final hours of Christ's agony and death, is never addressed in the reviews that I have read. The comments of movie critics and church leaders who have previewed the film, focus primarily on the artistic qualities and historical accuracy of the film. The problem is that a film about Christ's agony and death, may be artistically brilliant, but biblically flawed, because of its attempt to impersonate the Divine Son of God, reducing Him to a mere mortal human being. Any attempt to impersonate Christ, in a movie or in actual life, cannot be biblically justified. Paul condemns the impersonification of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2 as an endtime sign of the Antichrist. No mortal human being can to understand and experience what it means to suffer as the incarnate Son of God. Any attempt by an artist to act out Christ's suffering and death, may ultimately lead many simpleminded believers to a veneration of the movie-Christ they have seen, rather than of the biblical Christ they have not seen. The temptation to worship a visible and objective Christ can be seen in dominant Catholic countries, where the only Christ devout Catholics know and worship is the One they touch, see, and often wear as jewelry. Statues, crucifixes and pictures of the bleeding Savior, abound in devout Catholic homes. Instead of worshipping the invisible Lord in Spirit and Truth, they worship an idol that they can see, touch and feel. God's Precaution to Prevent Objectification of Christ We can hardly blame God for the attempts to objectify the three members of the Godhead through movies, statues, painting, statuettes, and religious jewelry. The Lord took utmost precaution to prevent human beings from materializing and objectifying His spiritual nature. This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that when the second Person of the Godhead became a Human Being for about thirty-three years, He refrained from leaving a single material mark that can be authenticated as His own. Christ did not build or own a house; He did not write books or own a library; He did not leave the exact date of His birth or of His death; He did not leave descendants. He left an empty tomb, but even this place is still disputed. He left no "thing" of Himself, but only the assurance of His spiritual presence: "Lo, I am with you 'always, to the close of the age" (Matt. 28 :20). Why did Christ pass through this world in this mysterious fashion, leaving no physical footprints or material traces of Himself? Why did the Godhead miss the golden opportunity provided by the incarnation to leave a permanent material evidence and reminder of the Savior's life, suffering, and death on this planet? Why do the Gospel writers minimize the suffering of Christ's final hours? Why is the "blood" factor, which is so prominent in Gibson's "Passion," is largely missing in the narrative of the Passion? Is this not clear evidence of God's concern to protect mankind from the constant temptation of reducing a spiritual relationship into a "thing-worship"? It was because of this same concern that God chose the Sabbath-a day rather than an object- as the symbol of a divine-human belonging relationship. Being time, a mystery that defies human attempts to define it, the Sabbath provides a constant protection against the worship of objects and a fitting reminder of the spiritual nature of the covenant relationship between God and His people. If Gibson was to accept the message of the Sabbath regarding the spiritual nature of God, he might consider withdrawing the film before its release. Such a courageous decision would prevent the adoption by million of Christians of a distorted view of Christ's suffering and death-a view that, as we shall shortly show, is conditioned by the Catholic teachings regarding the imitation of Christ's Passion, rather than by the biblical account of Golgotha. CONTRASTING REACTIONS During the past few months Gibson has shown a preview of the film to selected groups of Christian leaders (not to Jewish leaders), including the Pope and Billy Graham. The reactions to the sneak-peek rounds have been either shock or awe. There has little middle ground among the viewers. It is hard to imagine a movie provoking such contrasting reactions among selected religious audiences. Pope John Paul is reported to have approved the film "as it is," that is, as a factual representation of the events leading to the Crucifixion. This is not surprising in view of the traditional Catholic teachings regarding the imitation of Christ's Passion. To quell the growing debate over the Pope's alleged comment, later on Vatican officials denied it, saying the pontiff was not in the habit of making artistic opinions public. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls confirmed that the Pope has seen the film, which in his view is "a cinematographic transposition of the historical events of the Passion of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel." Similar praises for the film have been expressed by numerous Protestant church leaders and newspaper reporters. They feel that the film shows in gruesome but factual details, how Jesus died to redeem mankind. "The Passion of the Christ," Billy Graham has said, is "a lifetime of sermons in one movie" (Newsweek, February 16). NO BLOODY DETAILS IN THE GOSPELS The problem with such positive evaluations of the film is their failure to recognize that there are no gruesome, bloody details in the Gospels' narrative about Christ's trial, mocking, and crucifixion. As I took time to reread the four accounts of Christ's trial and crucifixion, I was impressed by the absence of "blood" in the stories. The only reference to "blood" is found in John 19:34 where we are told that one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side to find out if He was dead. "A sudden flow of blood and water" came out. In view of the fact that Christ was already dead, his legs were not broken, like in the case of the two thieves standing next to Him. If the focus of the narrative was on "bloody details," then the amputation of the thieves' leg, would have received far greater coverage. But, the focus of the four Evangelists is not on the "Passion," that is, on the bleeding Christ, but on the nobility of His character, which is revealed in the dignified way he handled Himself before His accusers, mockers, and executioners. Crucifixions were common in those days. Thousands of Jews were crucified at various times by the Romans because of their constant uprising. What makes Christ's crucifixion unique, is not the unusual harsh treatment He received, but His willingness to suffer silently "like a lamb led to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearer" (Is 53:7). The focus of The Passion is notably different. According to Newsweek: "The arrest, the scourging and the Crucifixion are depicted in harsh, explicit detail in the R-rated movie. One of Jesus' eyes is swollen shut from his first beating as he is dragged from Gethsemane; the Roman torture, the long path to Golgotha bearing the wooden cross, and the nailing of Jesus' hands and feet to the beams are filmed unsparingly. The effect of the violence is at first shocking, then numbing, and finally reaches a point where many viewers may spend as much time clinically wondering how any man could have survived such beatings as they do sympathizing with his plight." Gibson's focus on the violent means in which Jesus was murdered, may reflect his commercial concerns as well his traditional Catholic beliefs. Commercially, it is a known fact that "blood" sells movies. Film producers and promoters know that snap-shots of the bleeding Christ appeal to some bloodthirsty elements of our society. BLOOD SELLS MOVIES Popular films contain a generous (sickening) dosage of violence and bloodshed. This I know, not from viewing films, but from being confronted during the evening news with the snap-shots of shooting and bloodshed, used to advertize the latest films. The marketing industry know too-well that "blood sells" and this applies to religious films as well. Frederica Matthewes-Green perceptively notes, "It's a mark of our age that we don't believe something is realistic unless it is brutal. But there's another factor to consider. When the four evangelists were writing their own accounts of the Passion, they didn't take Gibson's approach. In fact, the descriptions of Jesus' beating and crucifixion are as minimal as the writers can make them. Instead of appealing to our empathy, they invite us to awesome wonder, because they had a different understanding of the meaning of his suffering." Apparently Gibson has a reputation for directing and/or producing films like Braveheart, where blood flows freely. Gregg Easterbrook writes in The New Republic that "Gibson has a reputation for movies that revel in gore, so there's legitimate worry that The Passion will depict an over-the-top, splatter-movie Hollywood version of Christ's final hours; and Gibson will sell this as historically accurate 'truth' when it is just one of many possible interpretations of an event no one can be sure about." In a lengthy and penetrating analysis of the Passion, published in Newsweek (February 16, 2004) Jon Meacham, who previewed the film, raises important questions about the historical accuracy of the film. Like other reviewers, Meacham feels that Gibson "makes 'the Jews' look worse than the Romans." He writes: "To take the film's account of the Passion literally will give most audiences a misleading picture of what probably happened in those epochal hours so long ago. The Jewish priests and their followers are the villains, demanding the death of Jesus again and again; Pilate is a malleable governor forced into handing down the death sentence. . . . [In reality] Pilate was not the humane figure Gibson depicts. According to Philo of Alexandria, the prefect was of 'inflexible, stubborn, and cruel disposition,' and known to execute troublemakers without trial." The sad reality is that millions of Christians will accept as truth Gibson's fictitious misrepresentations of Christ's suffering and death, instead of taking time to read and reflect upon the mysterious wonder of the Passion as cryptically portrayed in the Gospels. HISTORICAL CATHOLIC ANTI-JUDAISM Gibson's film may be conditioned not only by our violent culture that accepts bloodshed as a form of entertainment, but also by the traditional Catholic teaching that the Jews as a people are guilty of murdering Christ. Historically, the Catholic church has promoted anti-Jewish policies and practices by blaming the Jews for the death of Christ. During the First Crusade in the eleventh century "Christian" soldiers massacred European Jews while they were on their way to expel Muslim from the Holy Land. Numerous church councils strongly condemned the Jews as murderers of Christ and even passed anti-Jews legislation, depriving them of civil rights and forcing them to go into hiding during the Easter week. Numerous books have been written on the historical manifestations of Catholic anti-Semitism. For example, some Church Councils decreed that any Jew found walking in the street during Easter week, could be killed with impunity. Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) said that "the blasphemers of the Christian name, are forced into the servitude of which they made themselves deserving when they raised their sacrilegious hands against Him who had come to confer true liberty upon them, thus calling down His blood upon themselves and their children." After the horror of Hitler's attempt to liquidate the Jews, the Roman Catholic Church has reconsidered her historical position against the Jews as the murderers of Christ. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) issued a thoughtful and compelling statement on the charge of deicide levelled against the Jews: "True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today . . . in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved . . . by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." The Pope himself has apologized to the Jews for the past Catholic persecution of their people. But Catholic traditionalists disapprove the action taken by Vatican II in absolving the Jews as people for the death of Christ. Mel Gibson most likely belongs to the traditional wing of Catholicism which does not accept the new Catholic admission that sinners in general, and not the Jews in particular, share in the responsibility for Christ's death. Gibson's father, Hutton, told New York Times that "a Masonic plot backed by the Jews" influenced Vatican II to change the Catholic position. According to some reviewers, The Passion of Christ reflects the historical Catholic anti-Jewish position, by depicting the Jews as a sinister people. The legitimate concern of some Jewish and Christian leaders is that The Passion, may rekindle historic antisemitism. Jon Meachan aptly notes: "Four decades after the Second Vatican Council repudiated the idea that the Jewish people were guilty of 'deicide,' many Jewish leaders and theologians fear the movie, with its portraits of the Jewish high priest Caiaphas leading an angry mob and of Pilate as a reluctant, sympathetic executioner, may slow or even reverse 40 years of work explaining the common bonds between Judaism and Christianity" (Newsweek, February 16, 2004). JEWISH REACTION Some prominent Jewish leaders who have secretly previewed the film, have been quick to point out the way the film defames the Jews. For example, after viewing the film, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, said: "I can tell you this is a terrible film, a terrible portrayal of Jews and will cause tremendous harm and be a delight to all the enemies of the Jewish people. . . . The film makes the Jews look as bad as possible. . . . The Jews are not only contrasted badly against the new Jews, the Christians, but also against the Roman hierarchy, which with the exception of the four whippers of Christ appear as pleasing, thoughtful and sensitive." Rabbi Hier objects to the physical images of the Jews in the film, saying, "I was embarrassed by their evil look, their sinister faces-they all look like dark-eyed Rasputins and their faces are in stark contrast to the wonderful expressions on the faces of the Jewish Christians." Abraham Foxman, the President of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, was able to see the film in a secretive way at a special gathering of Christian leaders, which was supposed to be restricted to Christians. He said: "The sad part is that this film is made by a man who declares himself to be a man of God and truth. Yet he is predetermining who can the see the film. . . . The film is as bad as it can be. It portrays the Jews as bloodthirsty. . . . He takes every opportunity to [blame] the Jews. . . . What makes this dangerous is that he is a genius of his art and by making it as painful as it is, your catharsis and anger rise. . . . The Vatican may have absolved the Jews of the responsibility for the death [of Christ], but Mr Gibson has not." THE LEGACY OF ANTI-JUDAISM As one who has spent several years researching the role of anti-Judaism in leading many Christian to abandon biblical truths such as the Sabbath and Passover, I am very sensitive to the above comments by Jewish leaders. What many Christians ignore is that heresies like the observance of the weekly Sunday and of the annual Easter Sunday, are the outgrowth of the development of a theology of contempt toward the Jews that began early in the second century. For example, Justin Martyr, a leader of the Church of Rome at about A. D. 150, rejects the Sabbath as a trademark of Jewish depravity. He maintains that God gave to the Jews the Sabbath and circumcision as a sign of their wickedness, because they are a murderous people who killed the prophets and crucified Christ. The Jews deserve to be punished by the Romans and Sabbathkeeping provides to the Roman authorities an easy way to identify who are the murderous Jews. This subject is discussed at length in chapter 7 of my dissertation FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY. On a similar vein the Emperor Constantine urged Christians to abandon the Jewish (biblical) Passover date and adopt instead the Easter-Sunday date promoted by the Bishop of Rome, in order "to have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd." It is shocking to learn how some popular Christian beliefs and practices were inspired more by hate for the Jews than love for Jesus Christ. Many Christians ignore that the Jews in general were quite receptive to the teachings of Jesus and later to the Messianic proclamation of the Apostles. Those who were hostile to Christ were primarily some of the Jewish leaders such as the Pharisees and the priests. For example, we read in John 11:45-47 that "Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did [in resurrecting Lazarus], put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin." The plotting for Christ's death was done by the Sanhedrin, not by the Jewish people in general. An indication of the Jewish positive response to Christ, can be seen in the thousands of Jews who accepted Him as their expected Messiah on the Day of Pentecost and afterwards. In Acts 21:20 James tells Paul that "myriads of Jews have believed and they are all zealous for the law." On the basis of the figures provided by Acts, it is estimated that about half of the Jewish population living in Jerusalem accepted Jesus of Nazareth as their expected Messiah. On the basis of this fact it is inaccurate and misleading to make the Jewish people as a whole guilty of Christ's death. This means that to the extent that Gibson's "Passion" places the blame for Christ's death on the Jews as a people, to the same degree it perpetrates the historical Catholic anti-Jewish beliefs and practices that have prevailed until recent times. CATHOLIC IMITATION OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS Gibson's interest to reenact in his movie "The Passion of Christ," may also be influenced by traditional Catholic teachings regarding the value of imitating Christ's suffering as a means of penance and salvation. I have seen Catholic FLAGELLANTS participating in the Easter procession on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. They scourge themselves or are scourged by others. This voluntary flagellation is seen as form of exalted devotion to Christ, in imitation of His Passion. Flagellation has been promoted among the various monastic orders. "Cardinal Pietro Damiani advocated the substitution of flagellation for the recitation of the penitential psalms, and drew up a scale according to which 1000 strokes were equivalent to ten psalms, and 15,000 to the whole psalter." The exaltation and imitation of Christ's Passion as a form of popular devotion, is promoted today in the Catholic Church, especially by the religious order of the Passionists, that was founded by Paul of the Cross in 1720. They take a vow to promote Christ's Passion by word and deed. Gibson, being a traditional Catholic, may well wish to promote in a subtle way through his "Passion" film, the Catholic devotion to Christ's Passion as a means of penance and salvation. Such teaching is foreign to those Protestants who accept the biblical view of salvation as a divine gift of grace, and not a meritorious human achievement. Yet, the film could favorably predispose Protestants to accept the Catholic devotion to the Passion as a way of salvation. ENDTIME SHOWDOWN OVER WORSHIP Gibson's "Passion" could well be part of the prophetic endtime showdown over worship. The three angel messages of Revelation 14, summons endtime believers to worship the true God and abandon the false worship promoted by spiritual Babylon. The false worship of God is promoted today in a variety of ways, which transcend the Sabbath/Sunday controversy. A common characteristic of false worship is the attempt to objectify God by bringing Him down to the level where people can see Him, touch Him, feel Him, and use Him. The objectification and manipulation of God is accomplished in a variety of ways such as the veneration of images and relics, the attribution of divine prerogatives to church leaders like the Pope, the physical and emotional apprehension of God through the stimulus of beat music (as discussed in the previous newsletter by Pastor Lloyd Grolimund), the impersonification of God through drama and films, the collocation of God in "sacred" shrines to which devout believers make pilgrimages. The outcome of all the human divisings to objectify God is to make Him part of our human experience. The ultimate result is that people end up worshipping visible and tangible gods created after their own imagination, rather than worshipping the transcendent and invisible God of biblical revelation, whom we can approach only in "spirit and truth." Comment on this... Re: Passion of the Christ (Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:04pm ET) report post by John637 Five Reasons Not to Go See The Passion of Christ By Andrew J. Webb On February 25, 2004 Icon films, will be releasing Mel Gibson's much anticipated film The Passion of Christ. The date of the release was deliberately chosen to coincide with the Roman Catholic holy day of Ash Wednesday, and is indicative of the fact that for Gibson, his film was more of a work of devotion than a money making enterprise. In an interview on the Roman Catholic Television Network EWTN, Gibson candidly stated why this movie is so different from all his others, "It reflects my beliefs-I've never done that before."1 He is also quite open about his desire to see his movie used for worldwide evangelism. Many noted Evangelicals including James Dobson and Billy Graham have also come forward to endorse The Passion of Christ and recommend its use as a teaching tool. Currently, The Passion of Christ is riding a groundswell of nationwide support from both Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, with many well-known Evangelical congregations, such as best selling author and Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church which purchased 18,000 tickets at seven theatres, doing everything they can to ensure that The Passion of Christ will be a smash hit amongst Christians and "seekers". Expressing a widely held view amongst the film's supporters, Lisa Wheeler, associate editor of Catholic Exchange, a Web portal dedicated to Catholic evangelism, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "It's the best evangelization opportunity we've had since the actual death of Jesus."2 But should Evangelicals be supporting The Passion of Christ and endorsing its use as an Evangelism tool? Is this really the best evangelization opportunity we've had since the actual death of Jesus?3 After careful consideration my conclusion is an unequivocal "No." Here then are five reasons why I believe Evangelicals should not see or recommend the Passion of Christ. 1) Its Origins: Even though Evangelicals are promoting The Passion of Christ, it is not an Evangelical movie. As Mel Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic put it so well; "It reflects my beliefs." The Passion of Christ is a Roman Catholic movie, made by a Roman Catholic director, with Roman Catholic theological advisers, which gained the endorsement of Pope John Paul II who said after viewing it, "It is as it was."4 This is in marked contrast to the Jesus film, which is unabashedly Protestant and Evangelical in its production and message and which has been widely used in evangelizing Roman Catholics. It is largely for this reason that the Jesus film has not been utilized or endorsed by Roman Catholics. By contrast, The Passion of Christ has already proven its effectiveness as an evangelism tool in producing Catholic conversions and encouraging Catholic devotion: "In his first nationally broadcast interview about his starring role in Mel Gibson's much-anticipated film "The Passion of Christ," James Caviezel - Gibson's Jesus - detailed on Friday the ordeal of filming the Crucifixion scenes, noting that the overall experience prompted many in the crew to convert to Catholicism." ... "Noting "the amount of conversions on the movie," he said the experience of filming Christ's story "really changed people's lives." "Caviezel recalled telling Gibson, "I think it's very important that we have mass every day - at least I need that to play this guy." "I felt if I was going to play him I needed [the sacrament] in me. So [Gibson] provided that."5 2) Its Script: Although it is widely thought that the script for the movie is based entirely on the gospel according to John, this is not the case. The script for The Passion of Christ contains much extrabiblical material, and is based in part on a mystical Roman Catholic devotional work by an 18th century German Nun (Sister Anne Emmerich) entitled The Dolorous Passion of Christ. Gibson stated on EWTN that reading Emmerich's book was his primary inspiration for making the movie. By introducing extrabiblical elements, not only does The Passion of Christ change some of the theological emphases of the Biblical account of Christ's crucifixion, but it will also create a false impression amongst the very "seekers" that Evangelicals are trying to reach, that things were said and done at the crucifixion that did not actually happen. For Evangelicals, who would feel very uncomfortable with a version of the Bible that put words into the mouth of Christ that He never spoke, to endorse a movie that does the very same thing seems hopelessly inconsistent. Protestants traditionally rejected the Apocrypha precisely because these books were fabricated and contained inauthentic material, despite the fact that these books might have been useful for evangelism. For modern evangelicals to embrace a vehicle that is inauthentic in order to achieve evangelistic ends indicates a serious decline in faithfulness. The script for The Passion of Christ not only adds things that didn't occur in the Bible, it cuts out other things that did. The most widely known example of this is the important declaration, "His blood be on us and on our children." (Matthew 27:25) The script for The Passion of Christ was translated into Aramaic and Latin by Father William Fulco, an old friend of Mel Gibson's. This was not done for reasons of making it more authentic.6 The language decisions in the Passion of Christ were made for theological reasons: "It is crucial to realize that the images and language at the heart of "The Passion of the Christ" flow directly out of Gibson's personal dedication to Catholicism in one of its most traditional and mysterious forms - the 16th-century Latin Mass. "I don't go to any other services," the director told the Eternal Word Television Network. "I go to the old Tridentine Rite. That's the way that I first saw it when I was a kid. So I think that that informs one's understanding of how to transcend language. Now, initially, I didn't understand the Latin. ... But I understood the meaning and the message and what they were doing. I understood it very fully and it was very moving and emotional and efficacious, if I may say so." The goal of the movie is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the "sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar - which is the same thing," said Gibson. This ancient union of symbols and sounds has never lost its hold on him. There is, he stressed, "a lot of power in these dead languages." Thus, the seemingly bizarre choice of Latin and Aramaic was actually part of the message." 7 The script of The Passion of Christ was specifically intended to link the crucifixion of Christ with what Roman Catholics believe is the re-sacrificing of Christ that occurs in the mass. Gibson's intent is to show us that the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the altar (the mass) are the same thing. Protestant Evangelicals have historically rejected the idea that Christ can be sacrificed again and declared it "abominable." Speaking of the concept that the Crucifixion and the mass is the same thing, the Protestant Westminster Confession declares: "In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to his Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead; but only a commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all: and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God, for the same: so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ's one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of his elect."8 3) Its Theology: Gibson's comment about the sacrifice of the altar and the sacrifice of the cross shows the indispensable link in this movie between the Catholic view of Christ's sacrifice and the portrayal of the Crucifixion in The Passion of Christ. The fact that Evangelicals have uncritically endorsed it speaks volumes about how far the Evangelical Protestant understanding of Christ's death and the related subject of Justification have slipped since the Reformation. In Roman Catholic theology the intense physical suffering of Christ's Crucifixion is the focus along with the emphasis on physical sacrifice. This is one of the reasons why in Roman Catholic iconography we have so much imagery related to Christ's physical pain and that crucifixes show him still suffering on the cross (the sacrifice of the mass means that Christ's declaration that His once for all sacrifice is completed - "it is finished" (John 19:30), never actually comes, and that His suffering has to be constantly repeated). This emphasis on Christ's physical agony is repeated in Roman Catholic devotional material, prayers, and of course the Passion of Christ. The theology of the bible, however, points out to us that the grand importance of Christ's crucifixion lay not in His physical suffering, but in His once for all propitiation of God's wrath (1 John 4:10). Lest we forget, the greatest torment that Christ experienced on the cross was not caused by the nails driven into His flesh, but in His being made "sin for us" and vicariously suffering the righteous punishment of the Father in our place. Even the worst physical torments inflicted by the Sanhedrin and the Romans upon Jesus were nothing by comparison to the anguish of having the sins of all the elect imputed to Him and making full satisfaction for them. Satisfying the justice of the Romans on a cross was comparatively easy; thousands of condemned men and women including Spartacus and several of the Apostles did that, but only Christ could satisfy the justice of God. Also central to the Christian Gospel, but missing from The Passion of Christ, is the concept of Christ's active obedience. Christ not only died for the sins of His sheep on the cross but He established their righteousness through His perfect obedience to God's Law. It is only if His passive obedience in dying on the cross and His active obedience in keeping the law are imputed to believers per 2 Cor. 5:21 that believers will be justified before almighty God. The Passion of Christ does not even make any pretence of teaching the active obedience of Christ, the entire notion of which is alien to Roman Catholic theology. Therefore if Evangelicals intend to use this as a Gospel teaching tool, they must understand that at best they are teaching only half a gospel, and that the half they are teaching is defectively presented. The sacrifice of Christ was a glorious event in which, in accordance with God's plan, full satisfaction for sin was procured by Christ on behalf of His people (Acts 2:43). The Passion of Christ leaves us with a vision of the sacrifice of Christ that is only dolorous (Dolorous: Full of grief; sad; sorrowful; doleful; dismal) and which puts into sharp relief the Roman Catholic notion not only of the importance of Christ's agony, but that of Mary in "offering her Son." In an interview with Zenit, the Roman Catholic News Service, Father Thomas Rosica, the priest who oversaw World Youth Day 2002 and its Way of the Cross through the streets of Toronto, illustrated how The Passion of Christ, in keeping with Roman Catholic theology, uses extrabiblical content to massively exaggerate the role of Mary: "One scene, in particular, was very moving. As Jesus falls on the Way of the Cross, there is a flashback to his falling on a Jerusalem street as a child, and his mother running out of the house to pick him up. The interplay of Mary and Jesus in this film is moving, and reaches its apex in the scene of the Piet